Author Archives: From Poverty to Power

Please comment on this draft paper: theories of change on empowerment and accountability in…

Ouch. My brain hurts. I’ve spent the last month walled up at home writing a paper on ‘Theories of change on empowerment and accountability in fragile and conflict-affected states’ (acronym heaven – ToCs on E&A in FCAS). Pulse racing yet? It’s one of a series of inception papers for a big research consortium on E&A in FCAS, which Oxfam is a member of (IDS is …

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How do developing country decision makers rate aid donors?

Had a last minute cancellation of today’s post – ah Oxfam sign off, doncha love it? So here’s the most read new post from the last year. Brilliant. Someone’s finally done it. For years I’ve been moaning on about how no-one ever asks developing country governments to assess aid donors (rather than the other way around), and then publishes a league table of the good, the …

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How can Academics and NGOs work together? Some smart new ideas

Just finished ‘Interaction’, a thought-provoking report on ‘How can academics and the third sector work together to influence policy and practice’. Written by Mark Shucksmith for the Carnegie UK Trust, the report has some good research and new suggestions on a hoary old topic. First up, a striking stat that underlines the imbalance in size and resources between academia and the third sector (voluntary organizations, …

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What sort of trade campaigns do we need around Brexit?

Not all conference calls are as terrible as the one depicted in ‘a conference call in real life’. Had a really good one yesterday with Oxfam/Exfam trade wonks on the impact of Brexit on Britain’s trade relations. Here’s my take. Around the early 2000s, I spent about 7 years as a trade wonk, first at CAFOD and then at DFID.

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How to get a job in development: the definitive (368 page) guide

pneumonia and malnutrition

Because I’ve been having a lot of summer conversations with graduates and others wondering how to get a job in aid and development (and I have to admit, also because I’m up against a deadline and have no time to blog), thought I’d repost this ever-popular 2015 intro to a very useful book, plus other links. How to get a job in aid and development? …

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How can global companies (positively) influence development? Engaging with Unilever

Oxfam works with lots of big private companies, but in the (frequent) discussions about the role of private sector in development, our relationship with one (very big) name keeps cropping up. Unilever. We’ve done a ‘poverty footprint’ study of Unilever’s impact in Indonesia, and more recently have engaged with it on its labour practices in Vietnam. Unilever is also one of the targets in our …

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Is this the right moment to reboot the Aid, Trade and Private Sector agenda?

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan thinks the times are ripe for a paradigm shift  In a former life (i.e. six years ago), I worked as a development adviser to Australia’s trade negotiators. Back then, we development types were suspicious and hostile – we feared that rich countries would divert aid to pursue a narrow interpretation of their national interests. Now, from TPP to the UK’s …

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What is Adaptive Aid? Useful lessons from six case studies

Move over ‘Innovation’, ‘Adaptive’ is the new fuzzword on the block – stick it in front of ‘learning’, ‘management’, ‘programming’ or ‘aid’ if you want to sound up to the minute. Dave Algoso and Alan Hudson wrote a handy overview on this blog recently. But to get an idea of the substance, it’s also worth reading Adapting Aid, a synthesis of six case studies by …

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Where are the gaps in the way we campaign?

The summer is a time for relaxed chats in my Brixton office. This week it was with a seasoned NGO campaigner who’s been on a break, and wondering about re-entry into the UK/global development and environment campaign scene at the research-y end. Where are the gaps and potential niches that a bright, reflective, experienced campaigner-turned-researcher could help to fill? Here’s a few that came up, inevitably …

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A successful project to wean southern civil society organizations off aid

I’ve previously lamented the aid industry’s lack of interest in building up the domestic fundraising capacity of local organizations and suggested we need a ‘Fundraisers Without Borders’. Turns out something along those lines is already happening. A note in a recent edition of Development in Practice by Robert Wiggers of the Dutch Wild Geese Foundation (WGF) describes its Action for Children (AfC) programme in four …

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How do you make aid programmes truly adaptive? New lessons from Bangladesh and Cambodia

Following on from yesterday’s post on adaptive aid, a guest piece from Lisa Denney (left), Daniel Harris (middle)and Leni Wild (right), all of ODI (sorry layout’s gone so weird – it’s cos there’s so many of them…..) A swelling chorus of the development community has been advocating for more flexible and adaptive programming that can respond to the twists and turns of political reform processes. They argue that in order …

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What explains advocacy success in setting global agendas? Comparing Tobacco v Alcohol and four…

Oxfam researcher/evaluation adviser Uwe Gneiting introduces a new set of case studies It’s an age-old puzzle – why do some advocacy and campaigning efforts manage to influence the political agendas of governments, international institutions and corporations but others don’t? What explains the difference in attention, resource mobilization and policy traction of some issues (e.g. anti-Apartheid, HIV/AIDS) compared to others (e.g. the limited success of gun control …

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If politics is the problem, how can external actors be part of the solution? New World Bank…

The new paper comes from Shanta Devarajan, the Bank’s Chief Economist for the Middle East and North Africa Region, (recently drafted in to help get the WDR to the finishing line) and Stuti Khemani, Senior Economist at its Development Research Group. The World Bank seems currently to be awash with fascinating reflections and rethinking on politics and power. This one’s big message is perfectly captured …

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Getting carbon inequality onto the political agenda: the lessons of Brexit

Guest post from Dario Kenner who describes himself as ‘an independent researcher currently exploring the links between policies to reduce inequality and ecological footprints’ In a fascinating post-Brexit blog George Marshall makes comparisons between the Remain campaign and how to/how not to successfully communicate on climate change issues. He says while the Leave campaign had a compelling storyline based on Let’s Take Back Control the …

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